tv Berg Collection of English and American Literature CSPAN November 28, 2014 10:42am-10:54am EST
>> guest: not so much as a library in. we have some library and that are trained and expert at that. i'm blessed to work with great staff. obviously the senior staff i work with most closely but also working together with 2000 employees. a great board of trustees, donors, on the board. i spent my time as governing authority making it possible for us to do what we do. i spent a fair amount of time with the city administration and the mayor and the city council and again some of our funding comes from there and they are interested in the future of the library system because they understood how foundational it is for chops come at the democracy into the simple life of new york. and i also get to do some fun
things. we have amazing offers come into this building to read or discuss their work and i get to listen to that sometimes. they have parties sometimes in the building. i know that's shocking. we have some beautiful spaces here. what's amazing about my job is it will take me on any day from talking to a student in the south bronx, i remember one literally asking about what she was doing and she told me her name was miracle. students in the south bronx in a place of great need and then some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in new york who want to be supportive of everything the library stands for and that just means i get to live the diversity of experience
that i think is the secret sauce of american success that we are all in this together. some of the great it's one of the great privileges of my life to be able to serve. >> host: ten years from now what are we going to have? >> guest: in the library i bet we will have every seat filled and we will have. people will be still in this building and schaumburg into the library of performing arts into the business library. the much more of the research material will be sent out into the world. at some point we will also reach what i call the holy grail which is everything being available online to anyone. and navigable and linked. imagine a world. i don't think this will be ten
years from now because there are legal and technical issues that will take a partnership in the digital public libraries in america and everybody is engaged in this and the public and the authors. but imagine a world in which you can start looking up something you are reading about papers where does it come from and who, what is the history of slavery there and simply being able to chart your own course of creativity in all of the world's knowledge. it's meeting the educational needs and the curating needs of the public at large.
and my guess is that there will always be the place where a full array of new yorkers and people from around the world of all different economic and racial, religious backgrounds come together. that doesn't happen very much in our society at this point which is sad and worrisome. it happens in the library. what can be more powerful than that?
as booktv continues the tour of the new york public library we are joined but do you do here at the library? >> guest: i am the curator of the henry w. and collection of english american literature. >> host: how did you get to that position? >> guest: i worked in the new york public library in the past. i've been in the rare book division and i was later a curator at the southern methodist university, and downtown at the general theological seminary sandbox library. and i got a doctorate in renaissance history in colombia and all that led to my being here. >> host: how long have you been at the new york public library? >> guest: as a curator since 2000. >> host: you brought some things out to show us that you have in the collection. >> guest: i have. it's an enormous collection of 2,000 linear feet of archives
and manuscripts and printed items that this is what i like to call the tip of the iceberg so to speak. here we have the only surviving manuscript of john donne's paradoxes that was done in his own lifetime. it's not in his hands but it's in the hands of his secretary and personal assistant. this has the highest authority directly from his own manuscripts and you can see changes the differences in the text as it is represented here and the transcriptions that were made in the first edition. for instance in this sonnet all of the tierney and those who have been destroyed by this will
be resurrected on the day of judgment and this was transcribed as death and in the 20th century that it was read correctly. john john was a great part among the 17th century. it was used in the philosophical inquiry in order to create a highly complex sonnet and other forms of poetry. we have over 450 letters but what is really remarkable is that we have 13 of the performing copies he used in the public readings if this is the first one that he ever did.
the first reading that he ever gave was in 1853, and this one is the prompt copy or performance copy. first in birmingham in 1853 this was not yet in existence and he said about creating things people could listen to forever period for over the period of one hour and ten minutes or so said he had a binder tear out the addition and then he went through it over the period of a few years in the passes and then you can see that he wrote the passages because if he would have deleted something and then it was referred to later he had to somehow introduce it so that's what you see here. you also find pieces of wax
where they were pasted together but he wasn't going to read at all postage stamps. this is the last group of photos that were ever taken in new york in 1867. that was the great final reading tour of the united states. >> how did the library gets these materials? >> the performance copies came to the collection through the purchase of the two greatest collections of english and american literature in the 20th
century. this is back in 1940, 41. he was a great book publishing magnate in cincinnati and friend of the irish literary renaissance we collected for the status. he had some of the performance copies who is the man of the year in general electric. so these came from the collection. but i do want to mention one thing. here is the pen that you may want to hold. it's given as a sister and she had inscribed or engraved and he
always put that on everything and this is the recently deceased and the story has it that he trained him to put out his paw. >> how much is all of this with? >> we don't like to discuss prices, but it in one sense it is invaluable. i don't like to say in terms of the financial value because they can't be duplicated. >> host: all insured i take it? one more manuscript. >> guest: this ist